New for the most recent model year, the Tucson now rides on an all-new generation of the Hyundai/Kia corporate midsize platform.
The Hyundai Tucson has a new look, a new powertrain and a simplified trim structure to ease the buying process for customers. Hyundai has brought its downsized, turbocharged engine and dual-clutch transmission to the Tucson mix, delivering class-competitive performance and fuel economy in a package that still offers the great value Hyundai is known for.
The Tucson's sedan roots also show in its suspension, which is a MacPherson Strut setup in the front and a conventional multi-link independent configuration in the rear.
SE models are available with a two-liter, naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine making 164 horsepower at 6,200 RPM and 151 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 RPM. This engine is paired to a conventional, six-speed automatic transmission. Eco, Sport and Limited models all come standard with Hyundai's revised, 1.6-liter turbo. This four-cylinder makes 175 horsepower at 5,500 RPM and 195 lb-ft of torque from 1,500 to 4,500 RPM, and is paired with Hyundai's new seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission. All-wheel-drive is available on all trims.
The SE model's powertrain combination is good for 23 mpg in the city, 31 on the highway and 26 combined in front-wheel drive guise. All-wheel-drive models are rated at 21 mpg city, 26 highway and 23 combined.
The Eco model is the fuel economy all-star, with a 26 mpg city rating, 33 mpg highway and 29 combined with front-wheel drive. AWD drops those to 25/31/27. Jumping to the Sport or Limited model means heavier 19" wheels and stickier tires, which put noticeable drags on the 1.6L's efficiency. Both are rated at 25 mpg city, 30 mpg high and 27 mpg combined in the city with just the front wheels powered or 24/28/26 through all four.
What does it look like?
Hyundai's European division was responsible for the new Tucson's exterior, and the results were dramatic. The shape is a bit more classically SUV than its predecessor's, sporting conventional two-box proportions with sleek, modern surfaces.
The outgoing Tucson was an OK-looking car from some angles, dowdy from others. Hyundai's ground-up redesign has transformed an inoffensive (but unimpressive) shape into a genuinely handsome crossover.
The SE and Eco models get 17" wheels, the latter with low-rolling resistance tires for improved economy. Sport and Limited models feature slick 19" alloys with an aggressive spoke design that sits somewhere between a sawblade and a ninja star. Lighting options include basic halogens, LEDs and HIDs depending on trim level and options.
And the inside?
Europe may have produced the Tucson's exterior, but the interior comes from Hyundai's California studio. Regardless of the origin, it matches the exterior both in design and quality. All models come with a cushioned center console panel (christened the "Premium Panel" by Hyundai's marketing team) for added driver comfort, and the seats across all models are well-sculpted and pleasing to look at.
Hyundai's feature-rich interior strategy is in full force here. Heated/ventilated front seats are available (only heated rears, though) for starters. Higher-trim models are available with an almost-full-length panoramic roof with vent and slide options, along with a fully opaque sunshade.
Like tech? You're in good shape there too. Bluetooth and the like are standard, and trick options such as split-screen navigation and Hyundai's "Tune Start" (a buffering system which allows you to rewind a live radio song in progress to the beginning) are available as you progress through the model lineup.
Trim level breakdown
The Tucson comes in four trim levels, which have been re-arranged for the new model to align it more closely to Hyundai's new product tiers and simplify purchasing decisions for customers. The base model is the SE; one step up from that is the Eco model, followed by the all-new Sport and the range-topping Limited.
SE models come standard with the 2.4L, naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic transmissions. Base equipment includes 17" alloy wheels, dual fold-away exterior mirrors, privacy glass, automatic halogen projector headlamps, cloth seating, 60/40 split and reclining rear seat backs, a tilt-and-telescoping wheel, USB input and charging, auxiliary input, and a 5-inch color touchscreen controlling a AM/FM/SiriusXM/CD/MP3 audio system with 6 speakers.
The Eco model is the first to come standard with the turbocharged, 1.6L engine and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. On top of the equipment included with the SE, the Eco trim adds mirror-mounted turn signals, upgraded front and rear fascias, fog lamps, LED DRLs, auto-up down driver's window with pinch protection, and an eight-way power driver's seat.
The Sport trim adds 19" wheels, a hands-free rear liftgate, proximity key with push-button start, heated front seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
The Limited trim is loaded. On the outside, it gets chrome door handle and front grille trim, a shark-fin antenna and LED lighting front and rear. Inside, it adds dual-zone climate control, rear HVAC vents, a 6-way power passenger seat, leather seating, upgraded door sill plates, Hyundai's Blue Link telematics system, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror with HomeLink, and an 8-speaker audio system controlled by an 8" touchscreen with navigation.
Hyundai offers only a few options for the Tucson. SE models can be equipped with two different bundle packages—the Preferred Package and the Popular Equipment Package. The Limited is available with an Ultimate Package.
The Preferred Package for SE includes LED DRLs, halogen fog lamps, roof rack side rails, upgraded side sills, an auto-up/down driver's window and illuminated vanity mirrors and glove box.
The Popular Equipment Package for SE bundles a power driver's seat with the options included in the Preferred Package, (effectively allowing shoppers to add on the power driver's seat a la carte).
The Ultimate Package for Limited bundles a large number of premium options for buyers who don't want to skimp on features. HID lighting replaces the Limited's standard LED lamps. Further, the package adds lane departure warning, automated braking with pedestrian detection, rear parking sensors, a panoramic sunroof, front LED map lights, a 4.2-inch electroluminescent gauge cluster, ventilated front seats and heated rear seats.
All Tucson models come equipped with a rear-view camera, TPMS, TCS/ABS/ESC/EBD, electronic brake assist, front, side, side-curtain and rear curtain airbags and LATCH anchors. Blind spot detection, lane departure warning, automated braking with pedestrian detection, rear parking sensors, lane change assist, rear cross-traffic alert and blind spot monitors are available on higher trims or with packages. Models without electronic blind spot detection (SE, Eco) are equipped with additional blind spot mirrors.
The Tucson swims in the crowded pond that is the small CUV segment. No full-line manufacturer has neglected this class, which is populated by the likes of the Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Chevrolet Equinox, Toyota RAV4, Kia Sportage and Jeep Cherokee.